anxiety: 5 Articles

Afraid of the Potty? Insights and Tips to Help Your Little Pooper

It's a common but vicious cycle. When a child is scared to use the bathroom, they hold their poop in and subsequently become constipated, so it hurts when it finally does come out. The pain creates fear so they hold it again, and the cycle is repeated over and over. In their Note to Parents and Caregivers, A Feel Better Book for Little Poopers authors, Holly Brochmann and Leah Bowen, provide encouragement and tips for children who struggle with bowel movements. Here's an excerpt: The fear is real Children of potty-training age have been wearing a diaper since the very moment they were born. The transition to sitting on a cold, hard chair in a position that is often not advantageous for the release of the bowels can be not only scary, but physically difficult. When they do go, it feels strange to them, and it becomes and experience they are not eager to repeat. The fear can be even more intense for older children who have had painful movements in the past. You don't want to go in the potty like you should— you're worried and scared that it won't feel good. As a caregiver, it is important to provide comfort, compassion, and patience during this learning process and understand that it might take longer than advertised with potty training. It is also very helpful to acknowledge what they are going through, but provide assurance that it will get better. For example you can say, "You're new at this and it just takes time." Or "I know it hurt last time and you're scared it's going to hurt again, but together we will practice some new things to try that can help." The situation impacts your child's life and your family's When your child is afraid of having bowel movements, avoids them by holding it in, and then finally has to have one which ends up being painful, it validates their fears. In between these avoided bowel movements, the child becomes very uncomfortable and grouchy—in some cases they miss out on playtime, family outings, or school activities. But there really isn't a way to force your child to go. This is extremely frustrating for caregivers, and it often leads to putting pressure on your child to go. But pressuring your child or shaming them for feeling scared will only intensify the fear, making matters worse. Instead, you can reflect their feelings with gentle statements such as, "You're worried it will hurt, but it doesn't feel good holding it in either." Or "Listen to your body, and when you're ready to give it a try, I'll be here with you." Listening to your body can help There can be an internal struggle when the child knows they need to go to the bathroom and sit and try, but their fear stops them. This is why it helps to talk to the child about listening to your body's signals, and how, by paying attention, you can give your body what it needs

Read More
Afraid of the Potty? Insights and Tips to Help Your Little Pooper 2020-05-19T19:19:55-04:00

What to Do When You Worry Too Much

Did you know that worries are like tomatoes? No, you can’t eat them, but you can make them grow, simply by paying attention to them. If your worries have grown so big that they bother you almost every day, this book is for you. Hear author Dawn Huebner, PhD, read What to Do When You Worry Too Much aloud, and try some of her suggested strategies to manage worry and anxiety.

Read More
What to Do When You Worry Too Much 2020-04-28T14:29:04-04:00

Kids Feeling Stressed? Try This Mental Health Checkup & Toolkit!

Who would have ever guessed that words like coronavirus, COVID-19 or pandemic would become part of our daily vocabulary? When stressful times occur, like now, it’s just as important to make sure we are feeling good emotionally as it is physically, because your mental health is your first line of defense to staying healthy. One scientifically proven way to boost the immune function is by thinking and acting optimistically. In other words, dreaming and setting life goals can be good for your health! Dr. Sara E. Williams, one of the authors of Magination Press book, Dream It! A Playbook to Spark Your Awesomeness, provides a Mental Health Checkup & Toolkit to help your family learn an optimistic mental health strategy that will not only teach them how to manage their stress and stay physically healthy but also get them excited about the future.  Before learning about the toolkit, here’s some important information about the stress response. How fear and stress cause illness When the mind and body are in a state of fear and stress, our autonomic nervous system (the body’s “engine”) revs up and hits the gas pedal, giving us lots of extra energy to protect ourselves. This is also known as the fight or flight response. Then, when the danger has passed, our body slows down and hits the brakes, which allows us to recover and restore. This is known as the rest and digest response. This balance of “on” and “off’ works great until we hit a period of chronic stress, in which case our body stays in the fight or flight response for longer than usual. This becomes a drain on the body’s resources and doesn’t give us enough time in the rest and digest cycle to restore and rebuild. Instead of stress wearing us down, managing stress can help us be strong and healthy. Here’s the Good News! You can learn how to turn off the fight or flight response and put your body in the rest and digest cycle. You do this by changing your thoughts and actions in optimistic ways. These stressful times provide the perfect opportunity for your family  to learn a few strategies to not only survive, but thrive in the face of stress. As a parent, you are your children’s most important role model. Showing them how you handle stress will go a long way to help them manage their own stress.  Overall, the goal is to acknowledge that stress is part of life—stress can be big, small, and every size in between. The most powerful thing we can do is teach children how to handle stress in a healthy way both physically and emotionally. This lets them make a positive, intentional change in their lives. Learning skills like self-awareness and self-management can help your child learn to effectively identify and manage stress. Learning and practicing these skills leads children to develop physical and emotional resilience, and acceptance that even when challenges occur in life, they have the ability

Read More
Kids Feeling Stressed? Try This Mental Health Checkup & Toolkit! 2020-04-29T20:49:44-04:00